Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We're Home! (This post is only 5 days too late!) A Picture Blowout! Exclamation mark!

I'm way behind with posting even though I started this in the van on the way home from vacation. I'm just going to leave it as is, and then add to it. Hopefully it will make sense. And, after I had this typed up, Mark actually pulled over and let me drive. Wonders never cease.
Heading home from our vacation at Myrtle Beach, we’re watching the seasons change back in reverse with every northward mile. Mark says it’s one day ahead in the seasons for every ten miles South (that could be one of his Cliff Clavenisms, too though,) and that seemed to hold pretty true with the flowers, trees, and vegetables. Pansies and geraniums were full and bright. Corn was about 6 inches tall in its rows. The peaches in McBee (pronounced Mac Bee, same as they pronounce McDonalds ‘Mac Donalds’ down here) at McCleod’s Farm were around the size of walnuts and the fields were bursting with strawberries. What a bunch of tourists:It’s the reason we add a little mileage to our trip down. Right now we’re on a serious speed mission. Vacation is officially over even though we’re still 400 miles out.

An hour from home Mark got a phone call for a honeybee swarm capture. As soon as we pulled in the driveway he was loading up equipment and went to catch it. Indeed, vacation was over.

It was a successful holiday though. Beautiful weather except for about an hour yesterday. Lovely days at the beach, the ocean was ‘warm’ enough to swim in. We found seashells and hermit crabs. My skin is brown and crackly like the neglected leather that it is. Mark likes this photo. It's the only one of me where I'm not makingthis face:The involuntary one-eye squinty face. Nice.
The kids are fast asleep in the back of the (hoopty) van because Mark decided we’d get on the road this morning by 4am. I’m trying to stay awake for moral support right now, since he insists on driving every single vacation mile.
So what did we do all week? We took a half day fishing trip, Mark, Pops, Sam and I. It was a compromise from last year’s whole day fishing trip where I was the least seasick of us and therefore burdened with the responsibility of catching as many fish as I could so Mark wouldn’t be quite so depressed about spending hundreds of dollars to get to wake up at the crack of dawn and spend most of his day puking into a non-flushing toilet full of someone else’s poop. (Run on sentence championship! phew!) It included just barely not puking myself, getting covered in bait squid juice and fish blood, and the awesome sensation of ramming the stringer needle through the fishes’ eyes. Not for the faint of heart, I guess. Also, I caught a shark.
This year, it kind of sucked. I caught one measly sea bass, our only keeper. But none of us got sick and we saw dolphins. Basically a nice boat ride. Mawsi and the girls stayed back at the condo and enjoyed the heated indoor lazy river.
Thursday we took a drive down to Charleston. We visited the naval museum and toured the USS Yorktown where Pops explained what his job was during the Korean war down in the bottom of the USS Missouri. His job included maintaining and monitoring the boilers that power the propellers. We had to climb down several stories of very steep ladder-like steps to reach the belly of the beast, and he explained many of the valves and gauges as I wondered at how bloody hot it must have been. There were a few ducts pumping air down to that level which Pops called ‘as good an air conditioner as you got.’ He said when they were in port in Havana, Cuba, the air being pumped in was hot, but you still stood in it for some relief.
The Yorktown was an aircraft carrier and there are many airplanes onboard to touch and see. It was a really great place to visit, and we all loved it.
We also took a ferry over to Fort Sumter. Sam had been dreaming of it since I first mentioned it back in April. It was also really cool to visit. So much to learn and see.
We almost ended our little tour after those two stops, but Mark got a text from a friend who said that we had to go in to Charleston and take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city. And you certainly didn’t have to twist my arm about that! It wasn’t cheap, but boy was it neat. What a beautiful and historic city. I can’t do it justice, but I will say that I look forward to going back. Oh, and our carriage was pulled by mules. Cute! So glad we went. These two were getting their bath.We wrapped up our day with supper at the fondue restaurant. None of us had ever been to a fondue restaurant. Everyone was pretty hungry and I’m pretty sure Mark and Pops were fairly disgusted when they realized that they had to cook their own food. It was a fun and funny time, our family of country bumpkins and their slightly effeminate, long-suffering server. You see, Mark bought this giant inflatable turtle earlier in the week.(Still part of the fondue story, honest.) We went to 5 different stores to find it, and it was quite the spectacle. Our suite was on the top floor and the turtle was taller than Mark, so anytime he wanted to take it to the beach we had to maneuver it on and off elevators, through multiple doors, on a crazy parade to the shore. Little kids would stare wide-eyed as he passed and I tried to act like I wasn’t with him. (I’m only kind of kidding about that.) He’d float out in the ocean (when he wasn’t getting bucked out of it) in chartreuse grandeur, the only inflatable turtle guy at the beach. (Ya think?) So as the end of our vacation approached, we talked about setting the turtle free at the end of the week. We planned a grand ceremony and finally settled on the only fitting farewell: a funeral pyre type flaming turtle departure. We’d set him aflame and push him out to sea. So. As we joked with our fondue server, and he became less afraid of us, talk turned to dessert. Chocolates and cheesecakes and…”Flaming bananas.” Which prompted me to blurt out, ‘You should’ve heard about the ‘Flaming Turtle.’ I could see he was getting scared again, so I hurried to explain our ridiculous story which rendered him speechless. We gave him a big tip.

Anywho…we’re headed home again, to relieve our trusty neighbor Annette (and her assistant/husband) of her critter sitting duties. She pretty much made our vacation possible. Where else can you find someone not only willing but able to feed and care for 3 dogs, 4 cats, x amount of fish, a couple stingy chickens, spoiled horses, and cows? And that’s not even the impressive part.
I think I mentioned the homicidal cow with calf that Mark was considering buying.? Well, he did buy her before we left, and after a fiasco of getting her loaded onto the trailer, he put her in the barn where she proceeded to seek and destroy. She smashed buckets and doors and chased Mark and Pops all over the barn. She would paw the ground like a bullfighter Toro, and then charge full steam at whoever was in her path. They decided to turn her out into the pasture and we only saw glimpses of her through the trees after that. She was like Bigfoot. The thing was, she wasn’t in good condition, we're were hoping to rehabilitate her, and her calf’s survival was dependent upon her survival. We thought we could bring her around but we had to get some medicine and grain into her or the prognosis wasn’t good. Since she wouldn’t come down to eat with the steers (she didn’t know what grain was,) it meant that grain and medicine had to be carried to the very top of the hill to her. It also meant being careful she didn’t attack you when you did it. I wasn’t around for any of this, so this was all Mark’s deal. And unfortunately for Annette, it became hers when we left.
So imagine our surprise, when Annette’s daily email reports started to include the triumphant tales of her petting our Mad Mama Cow! That’s right. Not only did she have Mama eating and coming down with the other cows (usually,) she had her practically asking to be petted. The Cow Whisperer indeed!

And then Mama Cow died on Sunday. Yep. So we're bottling feeding the little guy. I'd have pictures of it if I hadn't left my camera at work yesterday. It took him about 3 different meals to finally figure out that big rubber nipple. I was so proud yesterday because he was sucking! I was happy as a clam, covered in grass & mud from weed-wacking, wet cow hair because it was raining, hanging half upside down because I didn't want to disturb him as he figured the whole thing out. What a relief! Here's Mark on the first try with the bottle. There was alot of head butting.So I can’t wait to get home and see all the beasts (and smell my horses--best smell in the world,) hopefully find scads of morel mushrooms, and relish the final couple days of freedom before we are enslaved to the farm market until November. Opening day is slated for Thursday. Sigh. Vacation is over indeed! (home sweet home)

Real time now...

So it's Wednesday and the market is opened. (Oh, and we found 9 lbs of morels Saturday evening, by the way. Awesome!) I had a sample scoop of the caramel cashew ice cream. Very tasty. The market looks good. And we are now tethered to the farm until roughly November. Less than a month of school though. Good news!
Oh, and check out our travelling snacks. I really did taste some of these. Horrific, no? The first 2 are pork cracklins 'with the fat attached,' and in the blue package? Chicken cracklins. Chicken skins fried in pork fat. They even had the little pin feathers still attached. Go ahead and chew on that.


OsageBluffquilter said...

Chicken Cracklins? No thanks!I'd be joining the husband with my puke bowl for sure.
And 9 lbs of mushrooms, girl you just had to show me up! Yummo!
Welcome back to the real world. Sounds like the vacation was wonderful!

honeypiehorse said...

All beautiful pictures but those morels look divine!

Amy said...

Wow! Sounds like a great vacation. I love having little kids, but reading your post, I thought how nice it must be to go and DO on vacation, and not need to worry about naptimes and bedtimes and total fatigue meltdowns. And you are too cute, btw!

And those snacks--blech! My dad loves Pork just seems so wrong to me!